Steans Professor in Educational Policy

About Steven Durlauf

Steven Neil Durlauf is the Steans Professor in Educational Policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Prior to this appointment, he was William F. Vilas Research Professor and Kenneth J. Arrow Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

Durlauf received a BA in economics from Harvard in 1980 where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and a Ph.D. in economics from Yale in 1986. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2011, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is co-director of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group, an international research network linking scholars across disciplines in the study of inequality and the sources of human flourishing and destitution. Durlauf is the current Editor of the Journal of Economic Literature.

Previously, Durlauf served as Economics Program Director of the Santa Fe Institute from 1996-1998. He was general editor of The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, revised edition, published in 2008, the most extensive compendium of economic knowledge in the world.

Durlauf's research spans many topics in microeconomics and macroeconomics. His most important substantive contributions involve the areas of poverty, inequality and economic growth. Much of his research has attempted to integrate sociological ideas into economic analysis. His major methodological contributions include both economic theory and econometrics. He helped pioneer the application of statistical mechanics techniques to the modelling of socioeconomic behavior and has also developed identification analyses for the empirical analogs of these models. Other research has focused on techniques for policy evaluation and the econometrics of cross country income differences. Durlauf is also known as a critic of the use of the concept of social capital by social scientists and has also challenged the ways that agent-based modelling and complexity theory have been employed by social and natural scientists to study socioeconomic phenomena.